Laying Foundation of Navy
15. After independence, Bangladesh inherited a barren naval base PNS BAKHTIAR in Chittagong (now BNS ISSA KHAN), a deserted base PNS TITUMIR in Khulna (now BNS TITUMIR) and a transit camp in Dhaka (now the Navy House). Bangladesh did not receive any share of Pakistan Naval assets as the latter received at the time of division of Royal Indian Navy. Ships, repair facilities, logistic support organization, training facilities, all which someone can see today have come up over the last 42 years of dedicated efforts of those who served Bangladesh Navy. Soon after independence, the three services were organized under the leadership of General M A G Osmani. Lieutenant Commander Nurul Huq who escaped from Pakistan Navy was summoned by the Prime Minister Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman on his arrival and promoted to the rank of Commander and was appointed as Chief of Bangladesh Navy.
16. Three services were separated from the unified command on 07 April 72 and were put under three service Chiefs. It was indeed a horrendous task to lay the foundation of the navy with nothing in hand except 180 dedicated men. There was no uniform, no accommodation, no ship, no arms, no training facility and no organizational set up. The functioning of navy started on an ad-hoc TO& E approved by the Ministry of Defense.
17. Naval Headquarters started functioning in a wing of Army Headquarters with a few rooms. After 7 April 1972, Naval Headquarters was shifted to a wing of old Air Headquarters. But main organizational activities were centered in the navy transit camp at Eskaton (now the Navy House). After hectic efforts, BN received a small piece of land with many jackfruit trees and a few barracks- the present BNS HAJI MOHSIN. The present location of Naval Headquarters is a part of the land; earmarked for FOC (East) HQ of Pakistan Navy was held by Army Ordnance and handed over to Bangladesh Navy after a few years.
18. The first batch of 100 recruits in 1972 was mostly from among the freedom fighters. Their training was conducted at Naval Base Chittagong on make shift basis. Two vessels of Establishment Division of Government were converted into riverine patrol craft and were commissioned on 12 June 1972 and 8 July 1972 at Narayanganj by General M A G Osmani. In their maiden voyage to major river ports, they were cheered by hundreds of people. For the first time Chief of Bangladesh Navy flew flag (a burgee flag with one anchor) on his car.
19. On 16 December 1972, just after one year of independence of Bangladesh, a Navy contingent of 100 men for the first time on the soil of sovereign Bangladesh participated in the victory day parade reviewed by President Abu Sayeed Chowdhury at Suhrawardy Uddan. Instructor Lieutenant Commander A Rouf led the Navy contingent. The Nation and the world formally came to know about the birth of a Navy in Bangladesh.
20. The Navy Chief made his first visit to India on 16 Aug 1972 and his agenda included things ranging from Boatswain's Pipe (a pipe used by ships Quarter Master to signal various activities of the ship by whistling it) to negotiation for Seaworthy Patrol Craft etc. He met Indian Navy Chief Admiral S M Nanda and the Defense Minister Jagjivan Ram who assured him all the assistances and said, "You take anything you need and whatever we can spare". Subsequently Indian Navy spared one Patrol Craft (BNS PADMA). Lt Cdr E Rasool who arrived from Turkey in November 1972 brought the ship from Vizak (an Indian Port) to Bangladesh in 1973 and the Executive Officer of the ship was Lt Bandpadhay of Indian Navy. The ship was commissioned in Bangladesh Navy on 12 April 1973 enabling the toddler Navy to go to Sea. After commissioning, the ship was open to visitors marking exodus of Jubilant Bangladesh onboard. On 26 March 1973, Lt Cdr Ehtesham Rasool brought two gun boats to Dhaka and Steamed past Sadarghat BIWTA terminal in a Line Formation with BNS PADMA leading. In a ceremony at BNS ISSA KHAN on 10 Dec 1974, Bangabandhu also handed over the Naval Standard to Bangladesh Navy. In 1976, Bangladesh Naval Academy (BNA), the premier institution of Bangladesh Navy for education and basic training of the young cadets, was established temporarily in the premises of Bangladesh Marine Academy at Juldia in Chittagong. By that time, BNS S R AMIN was also commissioned as the first flagship of BN Flotilla. In the wake of this wave, four Patrol Craft were collected from friendly countries and were commissioned in BN. In addition, five riverine Patrol Craft were built at Narayangonj Shipyard with indigenous effort.
21. After the liberation war, government of Bangladesh and the then naval leadership felt the necessity of building astrong navy. By this time, in 1973, about 2500 sailors including 30 officers and midshipmen being released from captivity in Pakistan started joining the hands of the new borne navy. On 7 Nov 1973, Captain Nurul Huq handed over the duties of the Chief of Naval Staff to Captain M H Khan on his return from Pakistan. In 1974, Naval bases BNS ISSA KHAN, BNS HAJI MOHSIN and BNS TITUMIR were commissioned by the Prime Minister Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
In a ceremony at BNS ISSA KHAN on 10 Dec 1974, Bangabandhu also handed over the Naval Standard to Bangladesh Navy. In 1976, Bangladesh Naval Academy (BNA), the premier institution of Bangladesh Navy for education and basic training of the young cadets, was established temporarily in the premises of Bangladesh Marine Academy at Juldia in Chittagong. By that time, BNS S R AMIN was also commissioned as the first flagship of BN Flotilla. In the wake of this wave, four Patrol Craft were collected from friendly countries and were commissioned in BN. In addition, five riverine Patrol Craft were built at Narayangonj Shipyard with indigenous effort.
Developing Sea Leg
22. None of the above ships was truly sea going; thus, BN was in urgent need of seaworthy platforms in its inventory. The aspiration was fulfilled by inducting BNS UMAR FAROOQ (EX HMS Llandaff) in 1976 from Royal Navy. Subsequently two more Ex RN Frigates were inducted in BN fleet as BNS ALI HAIDER (Ex HMS Jaguwr) and ABU BAKR (Ex HMS Lynx) in 1978 and 1982 respectively.
Induction of these Ex RN Frigates was a milestone for BN as it gave BN an opportunity to train her officers and men in all aspects of naval profession. It also provided blue water capability to BN.